Thursday, August 3, 2017

More Firsts

Madrid surprised us.  Very livable, easy to navigate with so much grand architecture, nice parques and better than reasonably priced.

Until now, my only frame of reference for Spain was Barcelona.  Not a great comparison as the region of Catalunya is in a league of its own economically.

Saw some stunning art at the Reina Sofia (those Dalis!) and Prado (knock our socks off exhibit by the Hispanic Society of America, beautifully and intelligently curated).

Goes without saying, ate some great jamon, tapas and boccadilos.  And you cannot go wrong with chirros and chocolat at any time of the day...

There is a tapas stall at the Mercado de San Miguel (forgot the name, but they are the only ones selling the giant olive types) that has a cava sangria drink (sold in a small champagne flute) that has enough alcohol content to knock you over.

The first time we ordered one each and I assumed it was because I'm a lightweight when it comes to drinking but D felt it after a couple of sips.  The second time we were there, we shared one and both of us were still spinning after.



Managed to get opening night tickets to Don Giovanni at the Liceu as well as a concert ticket at the Palau many months ago.  Had never attended a performance at either place before.

Ingenious set design for Don Giovanni using modern methods.  I've seen this opera a number of times and their treatment of it at times was even better than the singing, which is saying a lot.

It was almost like they wanted you to just listen, not just look at the main characters and told more of the story visually but silently.  Never experience anything like it before.  Very sophisticated.

Missed the second act due to an untimely metro strike and the need to get back to my apartment to prepare for the flight home the next morning.  But the first half was immensely satisfying.

And the concert the Palau de la Musica did not disappoint either.  The highlight of the main concert hall for many is the glass ceiling.  There is a lovely old time tapas bar behind the modern glass facade of the courtyard that is worth visiting before or after.

Would recommend buying a ticket for anything that happens to be showing, just to get to be in that space.  Tickets are well priced and at times, not much more than the cost of a tour.

This was my 4th visit to Barcelona and a real crime that it took so long for me to embrace the ensaimada with catalan cream... Now I have to make up for lost time.

For the first time ever, Spain has overshadowed France for me.

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